Software Updates in the age of macOS MDM (Big Sur +)

What is different?

For many years now, FileWave has leveraged the Software Update tool on macOS devices to evaluate and to deploy software updates.  With the release of macOS 11 (Big Sur) this behavior has changed somewhat.


We'll still want to deploy software updates, and from a FileWave admin perspective, the process for assigning the updates has not changed, but the mechanism that delivers those updates behind the scenes has changed.  From Big Sur onwards, all Software Updates will be delivered through MDM commands only.  So, the "How" of assigning updates has not changed, but the method of deployment has.

Here are some important items to note regarding this change:

  • This requires all Big Sur+ devices to be MDM enrolled to enable delivery of Software Updates
  • The updates are handled more like iOS updates were already handled...i.e. the device is notified to update, and the device itself gathers the update from Apple
    • The result of the above is that Apple caching servers become even more important to have in your environment
    • The delivery method being changed to MDM eliminates FileWave boosters from caching these updates
  • This change also means that restriction profiles that defer Software Updates for up to 90 days are also pertinent now for macOS